Every Monday, I write about something new you can try this week to drive more downloads for your mobile app and increase engagement with your existing app users, based on what has worked (and what hasn’t) for 23snaps.
One of the most important factors in ASO (App Store Optimization) is reviews. Get lots of great reviews, and there is evidence this helps you steal a march on your competitors and gain a boost in your rankings. Bad reviews, or no reviews at all, on the other hand, can be detrimental to your rankings.
So how can you ensure you’re getting positive reviews? One way is to prompt your users to add a review to the App Store, a topic I’ll cover in more detail in the future. But if your users aren’t already fans, how can you be sure their review will be positive? One of the best ways that we’ve found is by providing fantastic customer service.
Why Bother With Customer Service for an App
After the iOS 7 update, many applications experienced bugs or issues related to the new operating system. One such app was Zynga’s Chess with Friends – probably not one of their most popular apps, but still one with millions of users around the world. After iOS7, Chess with Friends was unusable, leaving many players frustrated as they received app notifications but couldn’t log in. The most persistent complaint on Zynga forums and in app reviews was Zynga’s lack of communication. “We just want to know if they are working on it!” typified user feedback. In the days following iOS 7’s release, Chess with Friend’s rating plummeted to below two stars.
Alternately, we have found that many of our top reviews reference great customer support – even if there was an problem or bug. Many of our five star reviews reference our great support services – we try to get back to all requests within one working day, but often times can respond within the hour.
Real support services, operated by real people who can answer the wide range of questions users have, is not the norm when it comes to apps – especially free apps. But the goodwill generated by setting aside just a bit of time to make your users happy and comfortable using your app can generate more than warm fuzzies. Users who have had a positive experience with your support team are not only more likely to be positive about your app when leaving a review, we have seen that they are more likely to stay engaged with your app over a longer period of time.
Not only that, but user feedback can be invaluable when trying to decide on what aspects of your app to improve or how to prioritize your product roadmap and you can test out potential solutions but asking customers with real problems whether a proposed update would really solve their issues.
Add to that the fact that measuring the total number of support requests about specific issues and tracking customer concerns and volume of queries over time can give you insight into how well you app is solving user needs, the points in favor of setting up a support infrastructure are starting to really add up.
How to Set Up Your Support System
So how can you get started? In the beginning it’s easy – answer your emails from users.
But as 23snaps has grown to hundreds of thousands of users, we needed something a bit more robust to handle and track support requests. We started using Zendesk, a fantastic support request management platform, and it’s allowed us to scale our support along with our userbase. We haven’t needed to hire any full time staff to manage support and can tag and track requests from users, as well as set up macros to respond to the most common customer issues. As an added bonus, it acts as a content management system for your FAQs, making it easy to manage and add new web pages with guides, tips and troubleshooting for your app.
Zendesk is even cost effective for an independent developer – with a starter package of just $20 per year (although prices can go up pretty quickly for advanced features and large teams).
I believe that providing fantastic customer support for 23snaps users has been a major factor in our growth. There’s nothing worse for a user than feeling frustrated with a service and then not getting any response from the company. We’ve tried to prevent any of those feelings with a scalable support system that can address the needs of all of our users.
My Monday Mobile Marketing Tip for this week: Sign up for the free trial of Zendesk and use it to answer your support emails. See how your customers respond and what insight you can gain looking back over a week of support requests. You may just find it increases positive reviews, engagement and ideas for how to improve your product.